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How far do you agree that 'The Great Gatsby' is a bleak view of a broken society?

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Introduction

How far do you agree that 'The Great Gatsby' is a bleak view of a broken society? Fitzgerald uses a set of characters whose lives are closely interlinked in order to present a society that is damaged at all levels and that each are collectively responsible. Immorality is a recurring theme throughout the novel. There are few signs of the 'cardinal virtues' in the characters, instead all seven deadly sins are exhibited - the most prominent being jealousy, in Gatsby's envy of Tom's life with Daisy and the image of Myrtle's eyes 'wide with jealous terror' as she mistakes Jordan for Tom's wife outside Wilson's garage. ...read more.

Middle

Some characters acquire this money through corrupt means. We learn that Gatsby, Wolsheim and 'his men' maintain their wealth via the illegal dealings of alcohol that was prohibited during the 1920s and other possibly violently criminal means. This is a bleak reality that was also present in 1920s America and highlights the desperation for wealth and status. Gatsby and Daisy's relationship is at the epicentre of the novel and epitomises how nearly all relationships in the novel are ultimately shallow and sources of conflict. The adultery in Tom and Myrtle, and Gatsby and Daisy's affairs sparks conflict via revenge from those who have been betrayed and ultimately leads to the deaths of 3 characters including the protagonist, Gatsby. ...read more.

Conclusion

Following Gatsby's death each living character returns to their original ;position at the the start of the novel with the exception of Nick. Some may regard Nick as being unattached from this broken society as he sees it for its worth and is able to get along with all the characters due to his comparatively strong 'sense of the fundamental decencies' and lack of materialistic desire. However others may argue that he is a catalyst in its breaking as he arranged the meeting of Daisy and Gatsby. In all, I believe Fitzgerald clearly portrays a society that has many several groups all able to live together in harmony due to the effects and attitudes that the characters adapt from each other. ...read more.

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